COLORADO SPRINGS — Thanksgiving is next week and some local food pantries are seeing a bigger demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With tighter restrictions, more kids at home remote learning, and financial uncertainty, food pantries are busier than usual trying to meet the community's needs.
Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado tells News 5 that they've seen a 50 percent increase in food distribution and expect more as we head into the holiday season.
"There's just a lot of financial pressures around the holidays so we expect the demand to increase. With COVID-19 numbers rising, there's even more urgency around that," said Lynne Telford, CEO of Care and Share for Southern Colorado.
It was a busy day for Pikes Peak Community College as families lined up to get bags of fresh fruit, vegetables, and bread.
"It helps a lot of people, a lot of people and I really appreciate them. I thank God for them," said Hazel Adams.
Adams made a quick stop by the mobile food market to pick up some much-needed groceries.
"A friend of mine called and told me they're doing Care and Share. And I think Care and Share is wonderful and awesome," said Adams.
Pikes Peak Community College holds its mobile food market three times during the fall and three times in Spring.
"We get food from Care and Share Food Bank and it's free to the public and all of our students. They can come through the line and get as much food as they need for their families," said Debbie Willis, Program Assistant for Student Life, Pikes Peak Community College.
The food bank says they're adapting to the increase in demand.
"We've increased our purchasing budget, we've been working with government programs to bring in more food, and we've also had the opportunity to do some grants for our partner agencies," said Telford.
The Sanctuary Church, another partner of Care and Share, say they've seen the need grow amid the pandemic. Thanks to the food bank, they've been able to handle the demand.
"We are the beneficiaries of Care and Share. We're a major outlet for them on the west side," said Eric Sandras, Lead Pastor of The Sanctuary Church.
To help get food out faster, they've been removing some barriers.
"We use to have small fees, we've dropped all of those fees. we brought in some temporary help, we've leaned into our volunteers and we've just been moving food as quickly as we can through our system," said Telford.
For those interested in the Care and Share Food bank, click here for more information. Another option 211, is also a good resource for Coloradans who need help during this difficult time.